The Right is working hard to try to discredit the very idea of structural racism, to erase the history that proves its existence and to vilify attempts to make necessary change. George Floyd's murder and following protests in 2020 initially sparked a big interest in learning about systemic racism and making change. It's essential for those of us who are identified in this society as white to keep learning about the things they are trying to hide. Systemic change can't happen until more of us speak and act up.

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From The condemnation of blackness : race, crime, and the making of modern urban America

By Muhammad, Khalil Gibran:

“For white Americans of every ideological stripe--from radical southern racists to northern progressives—African American criminality became one of the most widely accepted bases for justifying prejudicial thinking, discriminatory treatment and/or acceptance of racial violence as an instrument of public Safety.”

What the author’s describing is a racist way of thinking dating back to the progressive era and Jim Crow laws--about 115 years ago. But the quote is relevant to what’s going on in our right-now lives so it raises the question why institutional changes take so long. Is the tradition of racism in America too strong to resist extirpation? So like it or not racism will continue to be present in our lives.

Muhamad, Khalil Gibran makes clear in his book that the institutions of higher learning scientifically linked crime with blackness and gave educated authority to racism and educated justifications for keeping blacks under surveillance and staying away from them. If you were white.

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Back the Blue?

Black and blue is the color of beaten skin.

Back the black and blue black skin black and blue?

Back the blue is the color of beaten skin.

More than bruised - dead.

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Thanks for this piece. There are so many cogent points. It’s only recently that I’ve realized that there are so many people, groups, and institutions that are completely invested in doing absolutely nothing about police reform. I grow tired of bearing witness to a spate of performative motions and empty declarations from Congress, and other regulatory bodies.

The past couple nights, seeing members of Congress and other government leaders tsk-tsk people about peaceful protesting made me sad. Most protests are peaceful anyway, and how else will people (particularly those who feel powerless) send a message that change is needed? There is still this landscape of patriarchy when it comes to the relationships between institutions and POC.

All of this, to me reflects a lowered value of the lives of POC in general, and blacks in particular. There is no urgency or earnestness in the police accountability discourse. To me, it’s a very sensible position to celebrate law enforcement for the work they do, and expect transparency, accountability, and best practices at the same time. But the preferred narrative is either/or.

It’s amazing to me that some people think they are exempt from any adverse police action or that it’s not a priority because they aren’t directly affected. With the type and amount of power, influence, and unchecked capacity – who doesn’t think that this won’t expand beyond the current boundaries?

Anyway, even moderate democrats are widely opposed to police reform programs. In some departments, complete overhauls are needed. I can’t see this being done unless compelled to do so. In other words, it won’t happen – because the price is still acceptable. Blacks killed during police stops is an adequate price for maintenance of status quo. Same with gun violence – young children killed in school is not enough to get Congress to budge, because the price in other people’s children doesn’t break the bank. When you really think about it, it’s a terrible, cruel, and barbaric way to run a country, but in passing, it’s just another day in the U.S.

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Jan 29·edited Jan 29

Frankly when it came to light that most of the officers involved in this unsanctioned murder were black it didn't surprise me. It has seemed like it would just be a matter of time before such a video came to light.

In numerous work places with stakes much lower than law enforcement, I've seen the way systemic racism often permeates the way people of color treat other people of color... as if the default is to apply every negative black stereotype to any other person of color you aren't already personally familiar with.

Pair the pervasive inherent systemic racism with a work culture that's fueled by anger, militarism, and authoritarianism and misapplied violence out of step with the level of the crime and threat seems inevitable.

I think Brian Klaas' was definitely on to something when in "Corruptible" he highlighted the difference between a recruitment ad for police officers in New Zealand with one from the Doraville, Georgia SWAT team. We're actively recruiting sociopaths into policing, when "upholding the peace" is often more about deescalating situations than eliminating threats... yet the second one seems to be the focus of most of the law enforcement recruitment, training, and equipment. (Of course also at issue is our decision to constantly dump money into *enforcement* rather than programs that help address the poverty and other widespread social ills that drive most criminal activity in the first place...)

When officers routinely see themselves as "at war" with the public, instead of *serving* the public, it's no surprise they are wantonly killing people

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This reminds me about the same time, a white neighbors, very Fox News conscious and conservative, had a mixed race grandchild born. Both are very happy and loving to their grandchild but I asked them, are they prepared for the pain their grandchild is going to live through once he is older and in the school system?

Their response was, that won't happen because he'll go to a Christian school. A white Christian school with all the same Fox News conscious and conservatives. I could have gone further asked them more questions.

As a teenager had African American friends in my car and I had been pulled over and asked if I was okay. What? Of course I'm okay with my friends. Wasn't until I got back in the car and drove away that I truly understood what had happened. (There is more but I'm not going into here). This happened in California where everyone, since I left California, tells me is so liberal.

Systemic racism doesn't care if the State/City you are in are liberal or conservative. It doesn't matter if kids that are mixed race, have white Christian grandparents. It doesn't care except to preserve itself, and continue to paint all others that are non-White, especially African Americans, violent.

I hate this article because it reminds me that nothing has changed since my teenage years in the 80s. I will say that friends who didn't understand racism were so surprised that Trump was voted president because he seemed so racist. They didn't think the United States was this racist.

I hate this article because we are in the 21st century where I had hoped that science and reason who begin to take center stage. I was/am hopeful we will get there but it's been four-hundred years and I fear it's going to take another four-hundred years.

Thanks for writing this article. It so important that us, white United States citizens, continue to understand how systemic racism diminishes us.

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White people are still in the 'reckoning' phase of addressing state sanctioned brutalization and murder by badge-wielding thugs.

Rodney King's videotaped beating was supposed to be a 'national reckoning'.

George Floyd's broad daylight murder by Derek Chauvin was supposed to be a 'national reckoning'.

Breonna Taylor killed in a hail of gunfire in her own bedroom was supposed to be a 'national reckoning'.

Now we are all witness to, not only the savagery of uniformed agents of the state torturing Tyre Nichols to death, but the callous indifference of other uniformed agents of the state, as they stood and watched uniformed agents of the state torturing Tyre Nichols to death.

Please repeat this to yourself in the the coming weeks and months: uniformed agents of the state stood and watched as other uniformed agents of the state tortured Tyre Nichols to death.

And this will be another purported 'national reckoning', we're sure to be told.

We've been reckoning this over and over for centuries.

Little mention of an etymologically related word- rectifying.

Only when the majority of White people are prepared to rectify state sanctioned brutalization and murder by badge-wielding thugs will it change.

Too many White people enthusiastically embrace living in an apartheid state for that to happen, at the moment.

Look at them, especially among family, friends, neighbors and coworkers.

Because that's where all this begins and ends.

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